Genre: First-person shooter
Developer(s): Bungie Studios (Xbox), Hired Gun (PC)
Publisher(s): Microsoft Game Studios
Platform(s): Xbox, Windows Vista
Release Date: 9 November 2004 (Xbox), 17 May 2007 (PC)
Master Chief returns to battle the Covenant and the insidious Flood in this second installment of the popular Halo series.
I’m slowly working my way through the Halo saga, being a PC gamer, I need to wait for certain releases to appear on my platform of choice, such was the case with Halo 2 and even though it’s been out for PC for over two years already, I finally got around to playing it.
After having completed the game, I can honestly say that Halo 2 can be described as; more of the same. The graphics are beefed up since the first installment, but like all the games in the series (including Halo 3 ), the engine never really provided one with the ‘wow factor’ as far as fps graphics engines go and much like first outing, Halo 2 is just far too easy to play though and complete, even on the hardest difficulty setting. Here’s hoping that Halo 3 provides more of a challenge. The campaign focuses on both Master Chief and the alien Arbiter, having the player assume the roles of both characters and while this does add depth to the storyline, I felt that the alien campaign detracted a little from the human fight, which is what the series is all about after all. I also felt that the game was too short and that the final battle was far too easy, but it has to be said that the ‘cliffhanger ending’ left a sour taste in my mouth, I realize it was done in order to leave the player in anticipation for the third (and supposedly final) game but I felt it was a bit lacklustre ending the game so abruptly.
Okay, so now that I’ve gotten the negative aspects of Halo 2 out of the way, what’s so great about it then? Well the Halo series is just damn fun to play. The game has wonderful playability with smooth, responsive controls and there are plenty of awesome weapons (both human and alien) to choose from as well as a host of vehicles that one can use to kick-ass in. The plot is also pretty well written as far as first-person shooters go and I can see why they want to make the series into a film. The creators have created a lush, detailed and varied science-fiction saga that is a joy to play through. I’m also glad that there was less of the Flood in this installment, I never liked these parasitic characters and find much more enjoyment in fighting the forces of the Covenant. Another feature of Halo2 worthy of praise is the soundtrack, it really creates an immersive and cinematic experience when playing the game. The multi-player maps add some much need longevity to the game for those who felt cheated by the fairly short single player campaign.
So if you’re looking for an action-packed sci-fi saga to play through, you can’t go wrong in making Halo your game of choice, playing the role of Master Chief is a satisfying and rewarding experience, specially if you’re looking to kick some alien hide.